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Building Self Esteem

By Ray Terris

I am not conceited, I just admire great qualities

Building self esteem is part of becoming successful. How you view yourself is very important. It will influence the way that other people will react to you, how they treat you. As mentioned in other pages your success depends on other people, if you have low self esteem they will not support you. (What is Leadership)

What is self esteem? If you check on Wikipedia you will find that there seems to be some confusion about what self esteem is and how it affects people. For me the simple definition of self worth is the most workable. However some people appear to have difficulty in seeing the difference between self esteem and arrogance or some of the other negative human traits. For most of us it is fairly easy to spot when someone has real self esteem as opposed to being egotistical.

Friend or Foe?

Are you your best friend or worst enemy? How well do you treat yourself? Take a step outside yourself for a while, no I am not being mystical. Sit back and take a look at the kind of friends that you would want. Now see if you would want to be your friend. Self esteem is self worth, are you worthy of being a friend?

It is not easy to get an objective view of ourselves. Looking in a mirror will only show a reflection of a physical image, it can not reflect the person. There was one young lady that I knew who was very hard on herself. She relied on a mirror to tell her who she was. What the mirror showed her was someone who was overweight, by western standards, and some acne.

It took me a while to get her to open up and tell me how she really thought of herself. It was definitely not nice, she thought that she was a fat, ugly, loser. In fact she had a beautiful smile, a nice friendly personality and was generally just a good person.

With some help from another friend of mine, who could be considered to be overweight but had lots of self confidence, we finally persuaded her to be nicer to herself. She had to be her own best friend for one week. It would really upset your friends if you called them fat and ugly, so don't do it to yourself, it's not polite.

I did not get to directly see what happened with her, I had moved to another city. However she sent me her wedding photographs and she looked beautiful, radiant and happy. She also mentioned in her letter that she realized that she had been overeating for comfort and treating herself badly because she did not feel worthy. While she was building self esteem she changed her physical appearance. Everybody can be beautiful, just let the spirit shine through.

So learn to be your friend. You do not want a friend who says you are ugly and puts you down. On the other extreme you don't want someone who is conceited and too full of themselves.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. Buddha


One of the most uncomfortable things for me to watch is someone trying to become popular. It always backfires. The desire to belong, to fit in, is very strong in humans, it is a survival mechanism. You can not force, buy or bribe genuine popularity. Sure you can buy the gifts or spend the money but when the money is gone....... what a sucker.

Many people have things backwards, they think that if they become popular it will improve their self esteem. However it is building self esteem that will improve their popularity. People tend to like others they are comfortable with. If you are not comfortable with yourself, how can they be comfortable with you?

Another trap, that younger people sometimes fall into, is to do a reversal. They go out of their way to be different. There is nothing wrong with being different, it is a good thing, providing it is really you. Trying to be different in order to prove a point or impress people is just a different effort to get attention.

While other peoples opinions of you are important they are not something that you should worry about. You will often hear something like "I don't care what other people think of me!" Well you should care and you should care about other people. Just don't put special emphasis on other peoples opinions of you. Your efforts should be towards building self esteem.

I am who I am. There are some things about myself that I know need improving but I am comfortable in my own skin. I try to let people see who I am, if they like me great, if not that is their choice, I don't hold it against them. There are very few people that I do not get along with.


Building self esteem starts with learning to like yourself. To become a friend, either to others or yourself, get to know them. Look at the good points and build on them, accept the not so good points and change them where you can. Be positive and let the friendship grow.

Remember self esteem is not arrogance or 'better than you'. It is a comfortable acceptance of who you are and who you will become.

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